Last week, I was back in Austin for about two days. I know that doesn’t sound enough for a place where I actually lived for more than two years …anyway, on Wednesday, June 8, I attended the first day of the Sixth Annual International Conference on Open Repositories. It was great to join a group of 300+ technologists/advocates/developers of digital repositories from 20 countries and 30 states.
The first full session I attended was on Cloud Solutions. The first speaker was Peter Nuernberg from the Texas Digital Library and he talked about the work they have done in storing data on cloud machines. I think it was interesting to hear that regardless of some of the recent issues with Amazon, he commented on how the cloud option has changed from a backup to a primary alternative for some of their projects. For DSpace test-instances at OhioLINK, I know Amazon EC2 was a successful experiment! The second half was a panel on the DuraCloud Pilot Program led by Michele Kimpton; two cases were presented (MIT Libraries & Northwestern) and the speakers shared their experiences in using the service for preservation and access services. It was good to learn about features like Image Transforming, Video/Audio Streaming, and Image Serving. These features are definitely similar to what some of us are “prototyping” and wanting to have as a default option in DSpace … so maybe we’re not alone in our journey/confusion in using a software for something that it wasn’t designed for
In the afternoon, I attended one of the new 24X7 sessions, where each presenter had a maximum of 24 slides and 7 minutes to present. My favorites were: a) Linked Data: The Future for Open Repositories?, Adrian talked about the importance of putting archival and bibliographic data in a Linked Data format for the benefit of education and research –he also talked a bit about the LOCAH project and how it supports goals such as exposing (semantic) data and enabling new visualization of data; b) Value and Impact Metrics for Open Repositories, the presenter talked about OpenSky and its ability to generate custom (annual) reports as well as staff help for populating online CVs or departmental/personal web pages –such services are definitely appreciated by IR users; and c) Don’t Bold the Field Name!, Simeon talked about the need for presenting “relevant” data in a meaningful way for end-users (consumers) … it seems like regular usability tests can be part of this custom data presentation work, but how often?
In the last session, I was part of a group of 30+ poster presenters,
…each had a one-minute for a quick elevator speech -too bad I couldn’t sing, but I think I said what I needed to say in 55 seconds … anyway, I really enjoyed talking to about 11poster visitors, I understand I’m biased to my topic “file viewers for DSpace” but I was glad to learn that at least three other institutions are working on similar work for their DSpace repositories. Will we see an out-of-the-box viewer in DSpace for non-born-digital objects?, I definitely hope so.
Finally, for social and non-conference chats, it was absolutely great to talk to Kent, Yolanda, and Jee … next time, WE will definitely plan for more time to spend in Austin.